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Can UTI cause headaches and fatigue?

Ever wondered if that pesky headache and unrelenting fatigue you’ve been feeling could be more than just a rough day?

Let’s navigate the lesser-known territory of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).

Usually, we associate UTIs with unpleasant symptoms like frequent, painful urination. But did you know in more severe cases, UTIs can also trigger headaches and cause fatigue?

Dive into this article to explore the link between UTIs, headaches, and fatigue and learn how to spot the signs of a more serious infection.

Key Facts:

  1. Fatigue and fever can be signs of a severe urinary tract infection (UTI), typically a complicated UTI involving the kidneys or the bloodstream.
  2. Common UTI symptoms include pain and frequency in urination, as well as hematuria.
  3. High-grade fever and severe fatigue are signs of a complicated UTI and warrant immediate medical consultation.
  4. Complicated UTIs can also cause chills, body aches, and pain in the back or sides, and if untreated, can lead to kidney damage or sepsis.
  5. Bacterial UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics, and NSAIDs can help manage associated headaches and fatigue.
  6. Good hydration and nutrition can help in symptom resolution.

Can UTI cause headaches and fatigue?

Experiencing fatigue and fever may point toward the presence of a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, these symptoms are usually seen with more severe forms of UTI, such as pyelonephritis, rather than a simple, uncomplicated UTI. In the case of simple cystitis, fever, and pronounced fatigue are relatively uncommon.

Feeling mildly fatigued is possible with uncomplicated cystitis, while fever is generally absent. When the infection travels upwards to involve the kidneys or if it seeps into the bloodstream, high-grade fever and significant fatigue may set in.

Other Symptoms of UTI.

Typical symptoms of UTI include:

  • Pain during urination.
  • Frequent urination: Patients with UTI often need to urinate every hour or even every few minutes, but only a few drops or a minimal amount of urine come out.
  • Inability to start urination
  • Sudden onset of the need to urinate (urgency).
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Fever and fatigue are rare with uncomplicated UTI (cystitis or urinary bladder infection).
  • The fever may also indicate a complicated UTI (infection of the kidneys itself). However, it is hard to distinguish between complex and uncomplicated UTIs based on fever and fatigue (malaise) symptoms.

You should consult your doctor immediately if you experience fever and fatigue with UTI. This may indicate a more severe form (complicated UTI). A complicated UTI needs more aggressive treatment with antibiotics.

Complicated UTI: what does it mean? And what are the symptoms?

The term “uncomplicated UTI” usually refers to isolated bladder inflammation that leads to typical urinary symptoms, like pain during urination, frequent urination, and blood in the urine.

A complicated UTI, on the other hand, happens when the infection ascends from the bladder to the ureters and eventually reaches the kidneys. If not treated or inadequately treated, this type of infection could potentially damage the kidneys. It could also spread to the bloodstream, leading to sepsis.

The presence of high-grade fever and significant fatigue could indicate a complicated UTI. Other symptoms may include:

  • Classic symptoms of bladder inflammation include painful urination, frequent urination, and blood in the urine.
  • Chills.
  • Body aches.
  • Malaise or feeling of unease.
  • Flank pain on one or both sides.
  • Back pain.

Discover more about how you can get a UTI and who is most at risk here.

Treatment of headache and fatigue caused by UTI:

Bacterial infections are the most common cause of UTIs, though they can sometimes be due to viruses or fungi. High-grade fever and fatigue are commonly associated with bacterial infections.

Your healthcare provider will recommend treatment based on the cause of the UTI. For bacterial UTIs, antibiotics are typically prescribed for a duration of one week or more. The associated headache and fatigue often subside spontaneously following the treatment of the underlying cause.

To manage headaches and fatigue, your doctor might suggest over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like paracetamol (Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Staying well-hydrated and maintaining good nutrition can also aid in symptom resolution.

FAQs about UTI, headache, and fatigue.

Can UTI make you extremely tired (body aches)?

Yes, a urinary tract infection (UTI) can tire you and cause body aches. These symptoms occur because your body is fighting off an infection. The immune response can lead to fatigue and inflammation, which might manifest as body aches.

Can UTI cause headaches and nausea?

A UTI can cause a variety of systemic symptoms, including headache and nausea. These symptoms are usually associated with severe infections or ones that have spread to the kidneys (a condition known as pyelonephritis). If you’re experiencing these symptoms along with pain during urination, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Can UTI make you dizzy?

While it’s less common, a UTI can potentially make you feel dizzy, especially if the infection has spread to the kidneys. Dizziness can also occur if a UTI leads to dehydration because of increased urination or decreased fluid intake due to feeling unwell. It is important to drink plenty of fluids and seek medical attention if you’re experiencing symptoms of a UTI.

Can UTI cause flu-like symptoms?

Yes, a severe UTI can cause symptoms similar to the flu. These might include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. These symptoms typically suggest that the infection has spread to the kidneys. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Is fatigue a sign of sepsis from UTI?

Fatigue can occur with uncomplicated UTIs and isn’t necessarily a sign of sepsis. However, It may also occur sepsis. Sepsis triggers a systemic inflammatory response which can lead to extreme tiredness. Other symptoms of sepsis include fever, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, confusion, and even loss of consciousness. Sepsis is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.